(a)Part 305 (Public Works and Economic Development Investments) and part 307 (Economic Adjustment Assistance Investments).
(1) Except as otherwise provided by this paragraph (a), for a Project to be eligible for Investment Assistance under parts 305 or 307 of this chapter, the Project must be located in a Region that, on the date EDA receives an application for Investment Assistance, is subject to one (or more) of the following economic distress criteria:
(i) An unemployment rate that is, for the most recent twenty-four (24) month period for which data are available, at least one (1) percentage point greater than the national average unemployment rate;
(ii) Per capita income that is, for the most recent period for which data are available, eighty (80) percent or less of the national average per capita income; or
(iii) A Special Need, as determined by EDA.
(2) A Project located within an Economic Development District, which is located in a Region that does not meet the economic distress criteria of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, is also eligible for Investment Assistance under parts 305 or 307 of this chapter if EDA determines that the Project will be of “substantial direct benefit” to a geographic area within the District that meets the criteria of paragraph (a)(1) of this section. For this purpose, a Project provides a “substantial direct benefit” if it provides significant employment opportunities for unemployed, underemployed or low-income residents of the geographic area within the District.
(3) A Project located in a geographic area of poverty or high unemployment that meets the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, but which is located in a Region that overall does not meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, is eligible for Investment Assistance under parts 305 or 307 of this chapter without regard to political or other subdivisions or boundaries.
(4) EDA will determine the economic distress levels pursuant to this subsection at the time EDA receives an application for Investment Assistance as follows:
(i) For economic distress levels based upon the unemployment rate or per capita income requirements, EDA will base its determination upon the most recent American Community Survey (“ACS”) published by the U.S. Census Bureau for either: The Region where the Project will be located (paragraph (a)(1) of this section), the geographic area where substantial direct Project benefits will occur (paragraph (a)(2) of this section), or the geographic area of poverty or high unemployment (paragraph (a)(3) of this section), as applicable. Where a recent ACS is not available, EDA will base its decision upon the most recent Federal data from other sources (including data available from the Census Bureau and the Bureaus of Economic Analysis, Labor Statistics, Indian Affairs or any other Federal source determined by EDA to be appropriate). If no Federal data are available, an Eligible Applicant must submit to EDA the most recent data available from the State.
(ii) For economic distress based upon a Special Need, EDA will conduct the independent analysis it deems necessary under the facts and circumstances of a given case. Eligible Applicants are encouraged to submit reliable data substantiating their claim of a Special Need.
(b)Part 303 (Planning Investments) and part 306 (Training, Research and Technical Assistance Investments). There are no minimum economic distress level requirements for Investment Assistance awarded to Projects under parts 303 or 306 of this chapter.
(c)Part 304 (Economic Development Districts). For EDA to designate a Region as an Economic Development District under part 304 of this chapter, such Region must:
(1) Contain at least one (1) geographic area that fulfills the economic distress criteria set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and is identified in an approved CEDS; and
(2) Meet the Regional eligibility requirements set forth in § 304.1 of this chapter.
(d) EDA reserves the right to reject any documentation of Project eligibility that it determines is inaccurate or otherwise unreliable.